Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Data on George Reeves of Grayson County

Blue Ridge Vista in Grayson County
After searching for a decade for the source of a very old 1999 post on the Reeves Genealogy.com forum regarding the statements by a Mrs. Helen Trent Hobbs in regard to the origins of George Reeves who settled in Grayson County, Virginia in 1767 I have finally found the answer. An Ancestry post to the page of a distant Reeves' cousin contained a portion of the statement with a clue as to the name of the book and its author. The statements were from a letter written by 86 year old George W. Reeves of Ashe County, son of John Reeves, which were included in a 1951 volume published by LeRoy Reeves, a descendant of Edward Reeves of Bladen County, North Carolina.

The book is entitled Ancestral Sketches - Ancestry of William P. and Peter M. Reeves and contains a wealth of information regarding early Reeves families in North Carolina. It is a great shame that LeRoy Reeves did not have access to the historical records currently available and the added blessing of Y-DNA results. He has done an excellent job in researching these families and attempting to find possible familial relationships. The passage quoted from George W. Reeves' letter contained the following:
In December, 1897* (sic) George W. Reeves of Jefferson, Ashe County, North Carolina, then almost 86 years of age, wrote: "My grandfather's name was George Reeves whose birthplace I am unable to give, but was principally raised in eastern North Carolina. He was born about the year 1704 or 1705 (sic) and came from Neuse River, N.C., to New River, Grayson County, Virginia, about the year 1725 (sic) bringing his wife with him. They had born to them seven daughters and four sons, the youngest of which was John Reeves who was my father. When my grandfather came to Virginia no others of the Reeves family came with him, but my recollection is that he left others of the Reeves family in eastern N. C. whose names I am unable to give. But well remember my father had two cousins, William Reeves and Jeremiah Reeves, who visited my father since my recollection. I also remember that my grandfather's family frequently visited their relatives in eastern N. C, and I am sure that my grandfather left brothers and sisters in that part of the state...My grandmother's maiden name was Jane Burton."
Finding the source of these statements by George W. Reeves has been a complete thrill and further confirms the family connection between William Reeves of Wake County, North Carolina and George Reeves of Grayson County, Virginia that was discovered when descendants of both participated in the Reeves Y-DNA Project. It also should put to rest any lingering belief in the debunked theory (see posts in this blog) that the wife of George Reeves of Grayson County was a daughter of Joshua Epps of Halifax County, Virginia since George W. Reeves was obviously knowledgeable of the fact that his grandmother was Jane Burton.

I also found the remembered visit by his father's cousins, William and Jeremiah, of particular interest since two of the younger sons of William Reeves, Jr. of Wake County, North Carolina, by those names had migrated to Madison County, Kentucky with their father which would have been in relative close proximity. Any trip they would have made back to their previous home in Wake County would have taken them through the New River area of Virginia.

LeRoy Reeves speculated in his book on possible connections between George, William and Edward Reeves of Bladen based upon their arrival in the eastern portion of North Carolina at about the same time. He collected a tremendous amount of census and land records for the early Reeves of North Carolina but by not being privy to Y-DNA the majority of his proposed connections have been proven to be unfounded and to have been primarily based solely on proximity. The Reeves Y-DNA Project has no record that any descendants of Edward Reeves of Bladen County have ever participated so we aren't able to confirm any family connections. For the sake of adding more authenticity to Reeves genealogy, we'll have to hope that eventually some of those Bladen County NC Reeves' male descendants decide to participate in the DNA project.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to bask in the joy of finding the published information from George W. Reeves' letter.

* Note that the date the letter was written appears to be in error since George W. Reeves died in October of 1896 according to the inscription on his gravestone pictured at Find A Grave. George W. Reeves was born in April of 1812 and he would have been almost 86 in December of 1895, not 1897 which appears to have been a transcription error.


  1. Beverly what is your email address so that I can email you with some questions I have about this article? My address is adr0002@gmail.com

  2. Aaron, I believe you already have my email address since I had an email from you yesterday.

  3. Jeremiah may possibly be my 5th great grandfather whom I gather was a Baptist preacher and had 4 sons who also became baptist preachers and relocated to Georgia. Jeremiah Jr, James A (my 4th great grandfather), Malachi and John

    1. Robby, no that Jeremiah is a completely different line. They descend from William Reeves who died in Granville County NC and their descendants are found in DNA Group 3 of the Reeves DNA Project.

      The Jeremiah referred to in this post was a son of William Reeves of Wake County NC who migrated to Madison County KY. Jeremiah married Deborah Lanham in Madison County, lived there and in neighboring Estill County, dying in Estill County.

      They're definitely two different people.